“In looking at rate structures for other districts in our area, Discovery Bay is still lower than comparable districts,” said CSD President Kevin Graves of the rate increases. “But the fact is that in order to maintain our facilities the way they need to be maintained, our options were limited.”
Effective the coming fiscal year, beginning July 1 (and based on an average use of 23 CCFs – roughly 17,000 gallons of water per month), non-metered residential users with a single-family lot size of 5,000 to 10,000 square feet will pay a combined monthly water and wastewater charge of $79.68; $94.81 the following year.
For metered residential homeowners – roughly 1,900 homes in Discovery Bay – the average rate, again based on 23 CCFs per month, will be $76.92 for blended water and wastewater use this year and $90.47 in 2012-13.
“I was pleased that the board recognized some of the long-term capital needs of the district and has begun appropriately planning for those needs,” said Town General Manager Rick Howard. “Water rates are dependent upon our annual costs to operate the district in an efficient and cost-efficient manner. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions this year because we don’t want to fall behind the eight ball in our ability, among other things, to treat domestic water and continue to comply with state guidelines.”
Current residential sewer and water rates show Discovery Bay is still below many other area districts. The monthly total for Brentwood comes in at $98.58; $102.50 for Oakley. Pittsburg’s monthly combined total is $105.15 and Livermore’s is close behind at $104.42.
Based on a two-year ratepayer study, the original proposal from Hornberger Engineering called for an across-the-board 22-percent combined water and sewer increase this year, followed by a 13.6-percent raise in 2012-13. The goals of the rate development program are to assist in funding the two-year revenue requirements of the town, including operating expenses, capital improvements and replacement funding; recover costs as they relate to Proposition 218; and develop an updated rate structure for each system.
“I know that 22 percent was certainly a number that was difficult to reach,” said Howard. “And I think that given the circumstances, 17 percent is appropriate … The board made some difficult decisions but protected our critical infrastructure relative to continued water and wastewater treatment.”
CSD Board Director Ray Tetreault was pleased with the final results. “I think as a board we made some good decisions,” said Tetreault. “We were able to shave 5 percent off the original recommendation – and I think that is a good day.”